Grant Wood AEA logo
Bulletin Board


Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014

Agency closes at 3 p.m. in observance of Thanksgiving


In This issue:


Dyslexia & Struggling Readers
Flexible Spending Accounts – 2015 Plan Year Enrollment
AEA Advocate!
GWAEA Media Center Sponsors Langford Student Team
First Responders Training Planned Dec. 12
EAP Reminder
Agency Holiday Potlucks
33rd Ave Renovation Update
Have you signed up to join the Blue Zones Project™?
Yoga and Meditation
Blue Zones Project Purpose Workshops
Grant Wood AEA Book Club
GWAEA Professional Development Opportunities
Buy, Sell or Trade


Agency Advisory Minutes

Grant Wood AEA Staff Openings

The GWAEA Board Book

The GWAEA Board Minutes


Past Issues








Articles for The Bulletin Board are due end of the day on Wednesdays. Submit your items email to
Valerie Taylor Hill
GWAEA Public Information Specialist.



Grant Wood AEA


To ensure success for all learners.

Grant Wood AEA Goals:

1. Increase the academic performance of all learners.

2. Increase the percentage of students who perform at the proficient level.

3. Increase student acquisition and application of 21st century skills and knowledge.

Dyslexia & Struggling Readers


One of the new laws created during the 2014 legislative session focused on dyslexia. The legislation defined this as an educational diagnosis and so was added to Iowa Education Code. Dyslexia is defined as ‘a specific and significant impairment in the development of reading, including but not limited to phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension that is not solely accounted for by intellectual disability, sensory disability or impairment or lack of appropriate instruction.


Iowa’s Area Education Agencies created these resources for school leaders:

For further assistance, please contact Maria Cashman or Kris Donnelly at Grant Wood AEA.

Flexible Spending Accounts – 2015 Plan Year Enrollment

This is a follow up to the e-mail communication sent to employees November 13.  We are in our enrollment period for the 2015 Flexible Spending Account (FSA) plan year.  The FSA program allows you to set aside money from your paychecks on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified health and dependent care expenses.  The following documents are available for further guidance and enrollment:

Employees must complete the ASI Flex Enrollment Form if electing to participate in a health and/or dependent care flex account for the 2015 plan year.  Please submit the enrollment form to Cathy Kearns, Grant Wood AEA Business Services, by  December 3,  2014.   


Remember:  Our FSA program runs on a calendar year basis, January 1 through December 31.  Participants must re-enroll in the FSA program each year, even if you don't want your election amount to change.


Questions can be directed to Cathy Kearns, Grant Wood AEA Business Services.

Iowa's AEAs Introduce
" AEA Advocate!"

Iowa's AEA recently launched the inaugural issue of the "AEA Advocate," information for AEA staff and board members. This communication vehicle is intended to share what’s happening within the AEA system and how it impacts you as a staff member of Iowa’s Area Education Agencies. A subscribe feature is included.


The former Impacting Lives blog has now been moved to a module on Iowa's AEAs website. Find great stories at about what your colleagues across the state are doing to improve the well-being and learning outcomes of Iowa's children and students. For more information, contact Renee Nelson or Valerie Taylor Hill in GWAEA Communications.

Grant Wood AEA Media Center sponsors Langford International/Iowa Quality Center Student TEAM


A group of students from Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids spent time at Grant Wood AEA Oct. 27-29 further developing their business problem-solving skills.


The Grant Wood AEA Media Center served as an employer sponsor for the Langford International/Iowa Quality Center Student TEAM training. (GWAEA staff may recall the Center previously housed in the Sixth St. facility and known as the Woods Quality Center.)


The Iowa Quality Center located in Marion provided training for several area high school teams recently using Plan-Do-Study-Act processes and tools. Employer sponsors develop a problem statement to guide the students’ work. The students use their problem-solving processes and tools introduced during a previous IQC training to offer a recommendation.


The Grant Wood AEA Media Center’s problem statement involved developing processes for further expanding the Media Center’s Rotating Reads distribution to area educators.

First Responders training planned

Training for agency first responders is planned on Dec. 12

The first responders are GWAEA employees trained to be contacts in situations of medical emergencies or sudden severe illness of employees or visitors on Agency property.


Staff interested in becoming a GWAEA first responder or would like additional information about the upcoming training should contact Renee Nelson, ext. 6714.

EAP Reminder

The Agency provides an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to support staff and family members with additional resources when faced with challenging situations. This program is provided through Mercy EAP Services and includes professional and confidential counseling and referral services for a variety of personal issues including grief/loss, stress, illness, financial concerns and relationship issues. The goal of the program is to assist employees in effectively identifying and resolving personal concerns in a proactive manner before they affect job performance. 

All clinicians with Mercy EAP are licensed mental health counselors and are experienced in assisting individuals in meeting the challenges of today’s busy lifestyles.  The EAP is confidential and easy to use – just call 319-398-6694 or 1-800-383-6694 to schedule an appointment. There is no cost to employees for initial discussions – up to 3 sessions per employee family member per year (July 1-June 30) are provided.  Whenever necessary, you will be referred to another resource that can best serve your needs. In most cases, your insurance may be used to cover the cost of additional help. If you need help that is not covered by insurance, the counselor can recommend services that are based on ability to pay.


It is hoped employees and families always lead happy and healthy lives, however if problems do occur and additional support or assistance would be helpful, the Agency is pleased to provide this valuable resource through the EAP. If you are ready to try this approach to addressing challenges in your life, please remember Mercy EAP Services.


If you have questions or need additional information, feel free to call the Human Resources Office at x6703, refer to the Business Services & HR Procedures Manual at, or view brochure at

The Bulletin Board will resume publication on Dec. 4.

Have an enjoyable Thanksgiving!



Agency Holiday Potlucks


Please join us for good food, good friends, good fun. Bring a dish to share.

Sixth Street Potluck

Monday, Dec. 8

11:30 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.

Scale Up Classroom

Coralville Potluck

Wednesday, Dec. 10

8:00 - 9:30 a.m.

Coralville office

33rd Ave Renovation Update


The concrete construction and entry at 33rd Avenue.

Portions of the walls will be removed for the new building entrance...



...and for construction of the dock.

Staging of the VAST Science Curriculum Units continues.


Have you signed up to join the Blue Zones Project™?

Participants have access to an online well-being community available at no cost. See the May 8 issue of The Bulletin Board for a list of well-being community activities. Sign up today at (remember to use the Grant Wood AEA code: GWAEA) and take the personal pledge. And, receive a Grant Wood AEA water bottle for signing up.


Contact a member of the GROW Team for more information.



Cost: $5.00/ session or $15.00 for all four weeks. Bring a yoga mat and blanket.

Yoga and Meditation


Grant Wood AEA Sixth St. facility

4:30-5:30 p.m.


Class dates:

Monday Dec 1 - Yoga with Sayde

Monday Dec 8 - Meditation with Noelle
Monday Dec 15 - Yoga with Sayde
Monday Dec 22-Yoga with Sayde


Monday Jan 5 - Yoga with Sayde
Monday Jan 12 - Meditation with Noelle
Monday Jan 19 - Yoga with Sayde
Monday Jan 26 - Yoga with Sayde


Blue Zones Project
Purpose Workshops


A PD opportunity is available that will also count towards employees' Blue Zones pledge actions! Staff are invited to review the Blue Zones Purpose Workshop offerings and may consider attending

one of the workshops in Cedar Rapids or Iowa City as a PD event, upon approval of the supervisor. Purpose is one of the foundational pillars vital to creating a worksite environment that supports well-being. People with purpose live longer, are happier and more productive. A sense of purpose makes a difference!

Grant Wood AEA Book Club

Dec. 16, 12 p.m. or 4 p.m.

Media Center Learning Commons



Want to socialize/ learn with your colleagues? Join us for the Grant Wood AEA Book Club on Dec. 16. We will be discussing "Some Luck" by Jane Smiley.


Select from one of two meeting times to fit your schedule: 12 p.m. or 4 p.m. The book club will meet in the Media Center Learning Commons. Deanna Weber, GWAEA media specialist, will facilitate the discussion. If you would like to meet virtually at one of the times indicated above, please contact Deanna Weber, GWAEA media specialist, who will facilitate the discussion.


Please email Deanna with any questions:

New TQ Dates 2014-2015

Feb. 18, May 27, 2015
The TQ proposal template and directions are available on the GWAEA Staff Portal under the
Teacher Quality Committee
link. Please submit your proposal electronically to Sherry Sines at by the dates listed above. Proposal reviews are typically completed by the
TQ committee within 7 - 10 days after the due date.

Grant Wood AEA Professional Development Opportunities


Information for Professional Development National Speakers is now available on the link to
GWAEA Featured PD
on the homepage.

Evaluator Approval Information

Professional Administrator Licenses require approved Evaluator Approval coursework as a part of the licenses renewal credits.  The course options include Assessing Academic Rigor and iEvaluate.A letter from the DE/BOEE is attached for additional information. Please contact the PD office if you have further questions.

Buy, Sell or Trade

For Sale: 2010 JEEP LIBERTY SPORT. Automatic, 3.7L 6 Cylinder, ABS (4-Wheel), Air Conditioning, AM/FM Stereo, U-Connect hands free phone, Anti-lock Brakes, Cloth Seats, Compact Disc, Cruise Control, Daytime Running Lights, Dual Air Bags, Keyless Remote, Power Brakes, Power Steering, Power Windows, Rear Defroster, Roof Rack, Tilt Wheel, Tinted Glass, Traction Control, 65K miles.

$15,500.00 OBO. Call Jeff at 319-929-7689 cell.


For Sale: The Kennedy High School Band is selling fruit, garland and poinsettias through 11/17. Order forms are available in the staff breakroom. For more details, contact Susie Green. Items will be delivered the week of 12/1.


For Sale: One year old Canon EOS Rebel T5i, 18-55mm STM Lens, EF-S 55-250mm STM IS F/4-5.6 Lens, Filter, Cleaning Kit, 2 yr. Warranty Extension, 8 GB Extreme SDHC. New at Photo Pro in Cedar Rapids (Dec 2013) - $1,312.62 ------ For Sale - $847.00. Call Jerry at 350-2728 or 399-6741.


Wanted: Stacy Murphy is collecting Pink Yoplait lids for the Yoplait Save Lids to Save Lives program. Collection containers are in the Sixth St. facility staff break room or send to Stacy by office mail.


GW logoAEA logo

Grant Wood Area Education Agency extends equal opportunities in its employment practices, educational programs and services, and does not discriminate on the basis of color, gender, race, national origin, religion, creed, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, veteran status or as otherwise prohibited by law. If you believe you or your child has been discriminated against or treated unjustly, please contact the Agency’s Equity Coordinator, Maria Cashman, at 319-399-6847 or 800-332-8488 or TDD 319-399-6766, Grant Wood AEA, 4401 Sixth St SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.

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